Interesting Facts About Addax: The Best Desert-Adapted Of All Antelopes

The addax is a species of antelope. Addaxes are also known as white antelopes and the screwhorn antelopes. They have a body length between 1.5 and 1.7 m (5 – 5.5 ft), a tail length between 25 and 35 cms (10 – 14 inches) and they weigh between 60 and 125 Kgs (130 – 280 lbs).
Addax is found in isolated regions of the Sahara. They either live alone or in small groups of 2 – 4 individuals that contain both males and females. Their coat changes color with the season. It is gray in the winter and almost completely white during the summer. Their chest, neck and head are mainly brown with a white patch over the bridge of their nose and around their mouth.
A few days prior to giving birth a female Addax will wander away from the group and she will usually be accompanied by a male. They will stay away for a while then they will re-associate with the group once again.
They are critically endangered; there may be only three remaining in the wild. Extinction may not be imminent, however; about 2,000 are kept in zoos and on ranches around the world. The addax is a very beautiful, graceful animal that is in critical danger of extinction. Here are some interesting facts about the addax.
1. The Addax is extremely rare in its native habitat but it is quite common in captivity. One of the largest captive breeding herds is at Hanover Zoo in Germany.
2. After a gestation period of approximately 300 days, 1 calf will be born. Birthing will take place between September and January, following the rainy season but before the cold season begins.
3. Both males and females have horns, each having two twists and they measure between 80 and 120 cms (31.5 – 47.2 inches). Addax has broad hooves with flat soles and strong dewclaws to help them walk on areas of soft sand. Addax is mainly active at night and they spend their days resting in depressions that they dig.
4. The Addax mainly grazes on coarse desert grasses but when grasses are scarce they will eat acacia species and leguminous herbs. Addax rarely needs to drink as they get the moisture they require from their food.
5. They are the best desert-adapted of all antelopes since they can survive on very little water and diets of coarse grass and can travel vast distances in search of food. They hydrate themselves from the plants they eat and the dew in the morning and evening. Also, they preserve the very little water they get by peeing highly concentrated urine.
6. The addax lives in herds of about 5-20 members and is led by one male addax. The males defend their territories and will mate with more than one female. Generally only a single young is born and is completely weaned when it is a month old.
7. The addax has 29 pairs of chromosomes. All chromosomes are acrocentric except for the first pair of autosomes, which are submetacentric. The X chromosome is the largest of the acrocentric chromosomes, and the Y chromosome is medium-sized.
The short and long arms of the pair of submetacentric autosomes correspond respectively to the 27th and 1st chromosomes in cattle and goats. In a study, the banding patterns of chromosomes in addax were found to be similar to those in four other species of the subfamily Hippotraginae.
8. The addax is most prone to parasites in moist climatic conditions. Addax has always been infected with nematodes in the Trichostrongyloidea and Strongyloidea superfamilies. In an exotic ranch in Texas, an addax was found a host to the nematodes Haemonchus contortus and Longistrongylus curvispiculum in its abomasum, of which the former was dominant.

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